I read an article from a fashion magazine, here is a first paragraph. Althogh I know all the words I hardly understood the general meaning.

With all eyes on Stefano Pilati as many a front row discussion puts him in the front running for the job at Dior (to be fair, that’s alongside most of the other designers who have shown this week – we’ve tried them all for size in our metaphorical fashion chess match), he more than lived up to the limelight tonight. Even his front row was star worthy in the coolest sense: Jane Birkin and Lou Doillon; Ronnie Wood and his girlfriend Ana Araujo (both wearing YSL), and Florence Welch

Here are my guesses and questions:

1) as many a front row discussion puts him in the front running for the job at Dior = S.P. is discussed a lot and people think that he most probably will work at Dior soon.

2) that’s alongside most of... = it’s true about most of...

3) we’ve tried them all for size = ??? (What does it mean?)

4) Even his front row was star worthy in the coolest sense = ???

Thank you for your help!
Ahhhh, the jargon of the fashion industry!

I admire you for trying to understand what’s written here, especially since it’s a mix of highly informal written and spoken English – quite exclusive to the “mode” mags.

OK – let’s give this a try:

  1. John Galliano was sacked for saying racist things to a couple of New Yorkers at a Paris bar last winter (it was all filmed on a cell phone). Since then, the brand Dior (owned by LVMH corporation) has been without a head designer. Stefano Pilati (S.P.) is - according to the person that wrote this article - the leading contender to replace Galliano. S.P. is already working at Dior, but the author feels that he will get the top job sometime soon.
  2. “That’s along side of” means that the author compared S.P. with all the other designers showing this week and found him to be the best and most likely candidate.
  3. When you ‘try something on for size’ it means you put a piece of clothing on your body to determine if the size is correct and if the item fits properly. The metaphor “we’ve tried them all on for size” means that the author has given consideration to all of the other designers that showed this week and he has determined that S.P. is the best.
  4. S.P. has a sort of ‘fan club’ of stars and celebrities that come to his showings to show their support of his designs. These people always sit in the front row along the runway (the best seats in the house) so that the photographers will take their picture and to emphasize their support of the designer showing that day. They are referred to as ‘his star row’. The author of this article feels that S.P.’s star row was particularly “cool” because it included Jane Birkin & Lou Doillon; Ronnie Wood & his girlfriend Ana Araujo, and Florence Welch.
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Thank you very much for this detailed explanation!!

Will an ordinary person understand this article, or it is highly specialized text?

For example, is it possible to guess in the first sentence that in “in the front running for the job” the author means a particular post not just any job, may be because of the article “the” before “job”?
You're welcome!

I think that the ordinary reader would not immediately grasp the meaning and explanations of this article. Neverthesess, when reading, "is the front runner for the job" I think anyone could possibly figure out that it means a particular post (even the top position) as opposed to just "a job" with the group. That said, I think that anyone with knowledge of the fashion world and the current shows here in Paris would definitely understand that "the job" refers to "the top position" at Dior.

Then, there is someone like me: I have absolutely no knowledge of the fashion world but I just happen to live a few buildings away from where the Galliano incident took place. Having set "Dior" as a keyword in my news search preferences during the scandal, I had already seen S.P's name. So, that's how I figured it out.

At the end of the day, this is still highly individualized text written for "the few" that follow this industry closely and know how it works.


Thank you again, John! It was an interesting and useful information for me.
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